Parashah 13: Sh'mot (Names)
Exodus 1:1 through 6:1
Parashah 13: Sh'mot (Names) - Exodus 1:1 through 6:1
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Isaiah 27:6 through 28:13; 29:22-23; Jeremiah 1:1 through 2:3.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Matthew 22:23-33; 41-46; Mark 12:18-27; 35-37; Luke 20:27-44; John 17:1-26; Acts 3:12-15; 5:27-32; 7:17-36; 22:12-16; 24:14-16; Hebrews 11:23-26.
Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the AENT.
Welcome "newbies" and "oldies!" As you all know, Torah was written by Moshe (Moses) and consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, transliterated into English as YHWH, and most likely pronounced "Yah-way" (see Exodus 3:13-15). His Son's Name is Y'shua (most likely pronounced "Ye-shoo-ah"). Enjoy this week's Torah portion!
Every Torah study seems to be more exciting than the last! This week's study was extremely interesting on several levels, as it starts off by reiterating who the Twelve Tribes of Israel were; then going on to remind us that Yosef and everyone in his generation died - which means many, many years had passed....
Exodus 1: 1 These are the names of the sons of Isra'el who came into Egypt with Ya'akov; each man came with his household: 2 Re'uven, Shim'on, Levi, Y'hudah, 3 Yissakhar, Z'vulun, Binyamin, 4 Dan, Naftali, Gad and Asher. 5 All told, there were seventy descendants of Ya'akov; Yosef was already in Egypt. 6 Yosef died, as did all his brothers and all that generation. 7 The descendants of Isra'el were fruitful, increased abundantly, multiplied and grew very powerful; the land became filled with them.
Next we discover that a new king ruled over Egypt who "knew nothing about Yosef" (Exodus 1:8-10). This, in itself indicates that many years had passed. (For example, it's only been around 66 years since the Holocaust, but many today have never even heard of it, while others completely deny its existence - despite photographs and the testimony of some of those who survived, etc. So, it's not too far-fetched to discover that the new Pharoah didn't know anything about Yosef who had saved Egypt from the great famine...In this we can also see that what man does and says is easily forgotten, while the things YHWH commanded have lasted since the beginning of time as we know it.)
Be that as it may, the new king knew enough to feel threatened by the Israelites to want to contain them and remind them that they were nothing more than slaves in Egypt. He even went so far as to order the death of all Hebrew baby boys!
Exodus 1: 15 Moreover, the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was called Shifrah and the other Pu'ah. 16 "When you attend the Hebrew women and see them giving birth," he said, "if it's a boy, kill him; but if it's a girl, let her live." 17 However, the midwives were God-fearing women, so they didn't do as the king of Egypt ordered but let the boys live.
The Hebrew women disobeyed because murder would have been an act against God! This is actually serves as a great example for today, where "the world" has become tolerant and uncaring, never giving God a second thought.
Examples: (1) YHWH calls homosexuality "an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22), and today, we are being forced to be "tolerant" and to accept it as if it were normal; and (2) throughout the Torah YHWH commanded that His People avoid pagans and paganism at all cost - yet look at the number of "religions" and "denominations" and "sects" that abound on earth, simply because mankind has become so "tolerant"....
From the Book of Genesis, right on through to the beginning of Exodus, we've seen examples of YHWH's divine teachings and instructions - His "do's and don'ts"...and we've seen the consequences of both obedience and disobedience. However, so far we've haven't really seen actual Mitzvot/commands/teachings (which were finally written down in Exodus 20 as the Ten Commandments) that gave man the verbal command to obey YHWH's Mitzvot "so that all would go well with you"....We don't really see this until Deuteronomy:
Deuteronomy 4: 40 Therefore, you are to keep his laws and mitzvot which I am giving you today, so that it will go well with you and with your children after you, and so that you will prolong your days in the land ADONAI your God is giving you forever."
Deuteronomy 12: 28 Obey and pay attention to everything I am ordering you to do, so that things will go well with you and with your descendants after you forever, as you do what ADONAI sees as good and right. (See also Deut. 5:16, 33; 6:3, 18; 12:25, etc)
However, in today's parashah, we once again see it implied as YHWH prospered the "god-fearing" Hebrew midwives for refusing to kill the baby boys:
Exodus 1: 18 The king of Egypt summoned the midwives and demanded of them, "Why have you done this and let the boys live?" 19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, "It's because the Hebrew women aren't like the Egyptian women -they go into labor and give birth before the midwife arrives." 20 Therefore God prospered the midwives, and the people continued to multiply and grow very powerful. 21 Indeed, because the midwives feared God, he made them founders of families. 22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: "Every boy that is born, throw in the river; but let all the girls live."
In Exodus 2:1 we discover that the baby boy Moshe (Moses) exiled in a papyrus basket to ultimately be raised by Pharoah's daughter, was from the Tribe of Levi (tribe of priests; and by the way, both of Moshe's parents were Levites!) - God's plan in action! By the time we get to Exodus 2:11, Moshe is already a grown man who ended up killing an Egyptian for mistreating one of his kinsmen. By verse 15, fearing for his life, he has fled to the land of Midyan where he ultimately married the pagan priest's daughter, Zipporah.
It is interesting to note that Moshe was NOT a Jew! He was a Levite from the Tribe of Levi (one of Ya'akov's 12 sons, as mentioned at the beginning of this teaching) - and he obeyed YHWH's Torah. We mention this because so many people insist that Torah was "only for the Jews....
Evidence that Moshe's wife Zipporah was a pagan is revealed further on in Exodus 4:24-26 where she angrily took a flintstone and cut off the foreskin of her son in order to keep YHWH from killing her husband, Moshe, for his blatant disobedience concerning circumcision! (Ironically, we had to read this "between the lines" because Moshe (the author of the Torah/first five Books) conveniently neglects to mention that he had apparently neglected to obey YHWH's Genesis 17:11 circumcision command; see Ex. 4:24-26.)
In Exodus 2:10 we can see that Moshe was born a Hebrew and raised as an Egyptian - yet he clearly knows he's a Hebrew (because his natural mother was allowed to care for him - Ex. 2:8) because in verses 11-12 we see him defending "his kinsmen" by killing an Egyptian guard.
Meanwhile, several truly awesome events happened back in Exodus 3: First, Moshe receives a visit from an "angel of ADONAI in a fire blazing from the middle of a bush." When he moved in closer to examine this phenomenon, he was told by YHWH to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. (This could very well be where the Muslim "final prophet" Muhammed got his idea that everyone must remove their shoes before entering the mosques, which is supposedly "holy ground." Muhammed, if you will remember, "borrowed" many Torah scriptures in order to start the religion of Islam....)
Secondly, Moshe - who was chosen by YHWH Himself to liberate his Hebrew brethren from Egypt - stands there and argues with God!
Exodus 3: 11 Moshe said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the people of Isra'el out of Egypt?"
Exodus 4: 1 Moshe replied, "But I'm certain they won't believe me, and they won't listen to what I say, because they'll say, 'ADONAI did not appear to you.'" 2 ADONAI answered him, "What is that in your hand?" and he said, "A staff." 3 He said, "Throw it on the ground!" and he threw it on the ground. It turned into a snake, and Moshe recoiled from it. 4 Then ADONAI said to Moshe, "Put your hand out and take it by the tail." He reached out with his hand and took hold of it, and it became a staff in his hand. 5 "This is so that they will believe that ADONAI, the God of their fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz'chak and the God of Ya'akov, has appeared to you!"
NOTE: Look at how YHWH tests Moshe's faith, above in Exodus 4:2-5: He tells him to grasp the snake by the TAIL end. most know this is the wrong way to pick up a snake because it will flex around and bite you. Moshe obeyed anyway, and YHWH showed him the miracle He would do as a sign of him coming in YHWH's name. Sometimes what YHWH asks us to do will seem ridiculous to our minds, but we must OBEY exactly what He tells us to do! We have to remember, however, that just because we do exactly as YHWH commands, it does NOT mean we will have an easier life! We will probably go through much difficulty because we are trying to obey YHWH.
Exodus 4: 10 Moshe said to ADONAI, "Oh, Adonai, I'm a terrible speaker. I always have been, and I'm no better now, even after you've spoken to your servant! My words come slowly, my tongue moves slowly." 11 ADONAI answered him, "Who gives a person a mouth? Who makes a person dumb or deaf, keen-sighted or blind? Isn't it I, ADONAI? 12 Now, therefore, go; and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what to say." 13 But he replied, "Please, Lord, send someone else - anyone you want!"
At that point, YHWH has had it with Moshe and He gives him a tongue-lashing...and it is then that, POOF!...out of the blue, we learn that Moshe has a brother named Aharon (Aaron) who happens to be a "good speaker"! Still, YHWH, for some reason, chose Moshe - which goes to show that He uses whomever He wants! As that old adage goes: God doesn't call the "qualified"; He qualifies the called!
Exodus 4: 14 At this, ADONAI's anger blazed up against Moshe; he said, "Don't you have a brother, Aharon the Levi? I know that he's a good speaker. In fact, here he is now, coming out to meet you; and he'll be happy to see you. 15 You will speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and his, teaching you both what to do. 16 Thus he will be your spokesman to the people, in effect; for you, he will be a mouth; and for him, you will be like God. 17 Now take this staff in your hand, because you need it to perform the signs."
What stands out in this parashah, however, is that YHWH revealed His Name to Moshe!
Exodus 3: 13 Moshe said to God, "Look, when I appear before the people of Isra'el and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you'; and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what am I to tell them?" 14 God said to Moshe, "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be]," and added, "Here is what to say to the people of Isra'el: 'Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.'" 15 God said further to Moshe, "Say this to the people of Isra'el: 'Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [ADONAI], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz'chak and the God of Ya'akov, has sent me to you.'This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation.
YHWH (Yahweh) in Hebrew is comprised of the letters Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey (read from right to left):
God Himself revealed His Name to us, and man has had access to it all along as we saw in Genesis 4:26, yet knowing Him then only as El Shaddai, the God who performs hidden miracles and exercises mastery over Nature (Exodus 6:3)!
Ironically, traditional Jews refuse to utter his Name for fear of mispronouncing it or misspelling it, etc. And on the other end of the spectrum, you'll never hear the Father's Name in most Christian churches as they are all concentrating on "Jesus" whom they believe came to abolish the Torah (YHWH's divine Instructions in Righteousness)....
And the Catholics have clearly made it about themselves as evidenced in Pope Benedict's 2010 Christmas message wherein he praised God and requested: "Grant that we may join with you in love more and more and thus become people of peace." Nothing about, "How can we become more like You?" or "Teach us how to follow YOUR will and YOUR commands!"
Regardless, as YHWH's plan unfolds, we get an up-close revelation that He truly DOES know the beginning from the end, and He knows exactly who does and doesn't belong to Him. This is revealed in Exodus 4:21 when YHWH tells Moshe He will make Pharaoh "hardhearted" so that Pharaoh will refuse to allow YHWH's People to leave Egypt. (See also Ex. 12:29.)
Some people attempt to use this particular scripture to "prove" predestination, or the idea that before the creation God determined the fate of the universe throughout all of time and space. This, of course, directly contradicts the fact that YHWH gave us all the free will to choose Him or not....
Deuteronomy 30: 19 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants...."
In the case of Pharaoh, YHWH did remove Pharaoh's free will by hardening his heart. Why did He do this? Because YHWH has already set aside the pagan Egypt for judgment - specifically, that He would "bring judgment on the gods of Egypt". Pharaoh was thought to be a god in Egyptian theology, so YHWH was determined to show His glory over pharaoh, the elements, nature, and so on, all designed to prove that YHWH was in charge.
Now, could pharaoh have repented? Did he have that choice? Yes, if he were to renounce his crown and the spiritual claims that came with it. But, he never did that, and YHWH knew all this beforehand....
Remember also that the Egyptians were warned before Moses came onto the scene, not to mess with the Israelites. An earlier pharaoh had taken Abraham's wife Sarah, though Abraham didn't admit openly she was his wife. This pharaoh, when he found out that YHWH was angry, immediately released Sarah with extra gifts for Abraham's inconvenience. His question to Abraham is most interesting as it was part apology and part "why didn't you tell me!" (See Genesis 13.)
As we have seen throughout the saga of Yosef and his rise to power in Egypt, all went well for those who "remembered Joseph". But then "a king arose who did not know Joseph"….The Egyptians, in essence, forgot their own history and hence forgot the warning. Then YHWH, who had left them alone, ultimately lost His patience and, consequently, there was NO free will for whom judgment has come! In other words, Pharaoh and his ancestors had free will until they incurred divine wrath.
Tanakh ("Old Testament") is clear: You either learn the lesson or you become one for others. A note about Exodus 4:24-26 which says:
Exodus 4: 24 At a lodging-place on the way, ADONAI met Moshe and would have killed him, 25 had not Tzipporah taken a flintstone and cut off the foreskin of her son. She threw it at his feet, saying, "What a bloody bridegroom you are for me!" 26 But then, God let Moshe be. She added, "A bloody bridegroom because of the circumcision!"
It is interesting to note Moshe was raised as an Egyptian, was familiar with, tolerant of and probably practicing Egyptian ways, and he married a pagan who didn't bother to circumcise his sons - yet Moshe was CHOSEN by YHWH! In the above scripture we see YHWH telling Moshe he would KILL him if he didn't start obeying. YHWH had been busy getting Moshe to "cross over" and become the Torah observant man who was to lead YHWH's people out of Egypt. He did not allow Moshe to remain in paganism and even threatened him with DEATH!
Today, most people don't seem to care what God wants and they will go to great lengths to make excuses to continue their traditions, no matter WHAT their origin. For instance, on Christmas every Christian in the world offers paganism before YHWH by "celebrating the birth of His Son" on the wrong day (as Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot and circumcised on the 8th. And they are doing it by DECEIVING the world about Yeshua's actual birth date, mixing it with the mythical "Santa Claus" and decorating their trees with silver and gold (which originally represented the testicles of Tammuz) which goes against the warning in Jeremiah 10:
Jeremiah 10: 1 Hear the word ADONAI speaks to you, house of Isra'el! 2 Here is what ADONAI says: "Don't learn the way of the Goyim, don't be frightened by astrological signs, even if the Goyim are afraid of them; 3 for the customs of the peoples are nothing. They cut down a tree in the forest; a craftsman works it with his axe; 4 they deck it with silver and gold. They fix it with hammer and nails, so that it won't move. 5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber patch, it cannot speak. It has to be carried, because it cannot walk. Do not be afraid of it it can do nothing bad; likewise it is unable to do anything good!"
The Haftarah message of Isaiah 28 is extremely powerful as it is a picture of YHWH's anger against, among other things, man's rebellion and "religiosity":
Isaiah 28: 9 Can no one be taught anything? Can no one understand the message? Must one teach barely weaned toddlers, babies just taken from the breast, 10 so that [one has to use nursery rhymes]? Tzav la-tzav, tzav la-tzav, kav la-kav, kav la-kav z'eir sham, z'eir sham [Precept by precept, precept by precept, line by line, line by line, a little here, a little there]. 11 So with stammering lips, in a foreign accent, [ADONAI] will speak to this people. 12 He once told this people, "It's time to rest, the exhausted can rest, now you can relax" - but they wouldn't listen. 13 So now the word of ADONAI for them comes "precept by precept, precept by precept, line by line, line by line, a little here, a little there," so that when they walk, they stumble backward, and are broken, trapped and captured!
B'rit Chadasha reading:
This week's New Testament reading contained a powerful message straight from the mouth of our Savior, Himself. Take a look:
John 17: 1. Y'shua spoke these things and he lifted up his eyes to Heaven and said My Father the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that your Son might glorify you. 2. Just as you have given him authority over all flesh that whomever You have given him, he will give to him life that is eternal. 3. Now this is life that is eternal, that they might know You, that You are the Elohim of Truth, and he alone whom You have sent, the Mashiyach Y'shua.
WOW! What is "life eternal?" That we might know YHWH our Elohim! And how can we "know" Him? Through obedience to His "forever" commands, of course!
John 17: 4. I have glorified You on earth. The work that You have given to me to do I have finished it. 5. And now glorify me my Father with You in that glory that I had with You from before the world was. 6. I have made Your Name known to the sons of those men whom You had given to me from the world. They were Yours and You have given them to me, and they have kept Your Word. 7. Now they have known that everything that you have given to me I have given to them and they received them. 8. And they know that I have truly proceeded from your presence, and they believe that You have sent me. 9. And I plead for them. It is not for the world I plead; rather, for those whom you have given to me because they are Yours.
Let's briefly stop here for a moment to recognize who it is that Y'shua is pleading for in the verse above. Is it "the world" - those who have chosen to reject YHWH and His Son? NO! He is pleading for those His Father has given Him, so that they could know His Word and keep learning and growing by DOING it....
This entire chapter is one huge "tear jerker" in that it is YHWH's Son - our Final SIN Sacrifice - who is pleading for the "believers" and those who will ultimately become believers...because He knows "the world" will rip them apart and spit them out because of their belief! This is exactly what is going on in "the world" today. Any mention of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is ridiculed and blasphemed by the deceived throngs who enjoy being "in the world."
John 17: 10. And everything that is mine is Yours, and Yours is mine and I am glorified by them. 11. Henceforth, I will not be in the world, and these are in the world. And I am coming to Your presence. Kadosh Father, keep them by your Name, that which you have given to me, that they may be one as We are. 12. I was with them while I was in the world. I have kept them in your Name; those whom you have given to me, I have kept. And not a man of them is lost except for the son of perdition, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. 13. And now I come to Your presence, and these things I speak in the world that my joy may be full in them.
14. I have given to them Your Word and the world hates them because they are not of the world as I am not of the world. 15. It is not that I plead You take them from the world, but that You might keep evil from them. 16. For they are not from the world, as I am not from the world. 17. Father sanctify them by your Truth, for Your Word is Truth. 18. As you have sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19. And I fear for their sakes. I sanctify myself so that they may also be sanctified by Truth. 20. And it is not only for the sake of these I plead, but also for the sake of those who will believe in me by their word. 21. That all of them may be One; as You my Father are in me and I in You, that they also may be One in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent me. 22. And the glory that You have given to me I have given to them that they may be One as we are One.
23. I in them and You in me, that they may be perfected into One and that the world may know that You have sent me, and that You have loved them as also You have loved me. 24. Father, those whom You have given to me, I desire that where I am they might also be with me that they might see my glory that You have given to me because You have loved me from before the foundations of the world. 25. My Just Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You. And these that You know You have sent me. 26. And I have made Your Name known to them. And I will confess it so that the love with which You have loved me might be in them, and I might be in them.
There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and we wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and we pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH. And, as always, please let us know if you ever see anything in our studies that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....
The next Parashah reading will be:
Parashah 14: Va'era (I appeared) - Exodus 6:2 through 9:35.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Ezekiel 28:25 through 29:21.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Romans 9:14-17; 2 Corinthians 6:14 through 7:1.
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